Evaluating Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI)
Diets of most Americans fall short of meeting federal recommendations, with disparities in dietary quality across income levels. The 2014 Farm Bill established the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant program to increase fruit and vegetable purchases among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants by providing financial incentives at the point of purchase. Between 2015 and 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided $90.3 million in grants to 114 FINI projects.
Westat conducted implementation and outcome evaluations to assess how the FINI program was implemented and the effects of the program on SNAP participants’ fruit and vegetable purchases and consumption.
Using data collected from grantees, retailers, and secondary sources, the implementation evaluation described
- FINI program models
- Contexts in which they operated
- Grantees’ implementation experiences
Using survey data collected from SNAP participants, the outcome evaluation
- Assessed SNAP participant awareness and receipt of incentives
- Measured the impact of FINI on increasing fruit and vegetable purchases and consumption
Program impacts were estimated by comparing SNAP households with access to FINI to a matched comparison group with no access to FINI. A baseline and a 6-month follow-up survey with SNAP participants served as the primary data sources for this examination.
As of September 2018, large-scale and community-based FINI grantees offered incentives at 3,000+ SNAP-authorized retailers in 38 states and the District of Columbia. The participating retailers issued and redeemed incentives worth $50.2 million and $35.5 million, respectively. Retailers reported increased produce sales and profits, and expressed willingness to participate in the program again.
While awareness of FINI was relatively low among SNAP participants, the program had a positive impact on average monthly fruit and vegetable expenditures—increases in average monthly expenditures on fruits and vegetables ranged from $9 to $15.
There was no measurable impact of FINI on daily cup equivalents of total fruits and vegetables consumed by SNAP participants.
This infographic illustrates the report findings: Evaluation of the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives Grant Program (PDF)
Read the reports: